The Internet of Things legal woes
Surely, you’ve received something in the mail (yes, things of interest and concern do show up in a non-electronic format these days) referencing a recall for something you own with the fine print including the word “defect.” Cars come to mind as the most obvious item that gets subject to defects and subsequent recalls.
In nearly all cases, the manufacturer who made the product had no idea that the product was defective when they implemented it and started selling it. In some instances, the defect doesn’t rear its head until years after the product is released. Airbags and seat belts come to mind as splendid examples of items found to be defective literally years after people started using them.
Let’s apply this culture of discovery and litigation that defines US business and extrapolate as to how this shall pan out. Better yet, let’s look at some real-life examples in the space now called Internet of Things.
Imagine a hacker finds a vulnerability in, say, an IP enabled watch. Anyone exploiting such a vulnerability would be committing a felony, but luckily, no exploit happens. But before you know it, the watch manufacturer is slapped with a class action lawsuit claiming economic injury because some consumers would not have bought the oven if they knew it was “defective”—i.e., that it was susceptible to potential third party “hacking.”
Cases already underway
Far-fetched? Anything but! Two cases of this very event have gone to litigation, and there most certainly are a backlog of other cases yet to be heard. In Cohen vs. Toyota Motor Corp plaintiffs claim that vehicles that contain electronic control units could be hacked, even though no such exploit or breach has been found. The plaintiff seeks monetary damages despite the lack of any loss. A district court in California dismissed the suit but it is now on appeal in the 9th circuit. Flynn vs. FCA US LLC, alleges vulnerabilities in Chrysler’s uConnect system that they argue could allow a hacker to take control of the vehicle.
COULD allow, not HAS allowed.
In each case, the plaintiff knows that their claim is based on the court’s definition of “defective.” In the event that the FCC or similar entity doesn’t begin to regulate or define additional standards for I of Tthings devices, you should anticipate that the big technology manufacturers most capable of creating and taking to market IoT innovation shall remain in hiding. Under the old-world definition of “defective” Windows CE devices, Windows XP, older IOS enabled devices and the like are on a collision course to be labelled as defective, once they are deemed to be “end of life” and end users will have a legal recourse if they get hacked, long after the devices are no longer useful.
The pink elephant in the room is that IoT devices have populated our workspace, and they are, for practical purposes, untracked and unmonitored. The job is in the court’s hands to sort out, and there is just no way this item is that important to them, when compared with all the other items that traverse the dockets of our current judicial system.
Get smart with Internet of Things. Recognize that there is no standard for the manufacture and care for IoT devices. Create some policy for the use and implementation of IoT devices that engages both your management/leadership and your IT department, before the unthinkable happens.
As president, I am often indirectly asked to talk about the direction of IT/2017 technology trends….like I have insight into something that you don’t.
Sometimes, I do have insight, not because of my title, but we because and I read and talk to leaders in the IT leadership community. Some trends that will continue to grow are:
- Security will remain the pink elephant of 2017 technology trends. Many people will conclude that there is no problem for their business, because they have no evidence to prove them wrong. When these people are proven wrong, it is often too late for them and often a long overdue indicator that leadership is out of touch. Security requires more budget than ever to stay on top of. Ransomware in 2017 should invoke a Tora, Tora, Tora response in all of our hearts and checkbooks.
- Virtualization is still in the stone age. We have servers and desktop running virtual software. We don’t have mobile phone and tablet OS running in VM, yet. With most of the world using mobile devices to access the internet more than with wired devices, we have a lot of room for many vendors to come up with the “final answer” for virtualization.
- Screens will be more and more important. We stare at 27” monitors for 9 to 10 hours a day, and watch TV on a 55” TV for an hour or two. That shall continue to evolve with screen size tilting towards bigger work screens.
- Online everything will continue to grow. A few years ago, swipe right meant nothing to anyone. Ask a single person what swipe right means, and you will get a chuckle. Ask a single person in your office now, if you don’t believe me.
- The Internet of things will continue to impress. IP enabled Clothing will expand. Safety issues will generate wide scale acceptance of IoT devices.
- IT will move to the cloud at a faster and faster rate. Fear of “what if” will lose the battle to “its not my problem” thinking. The hardware business for individual IT folks will contract.
There are many more 2017 technology trends that I could express and expand on. That said, this list is already too long for anyone intelligent to address. Perhaps you can do a good job on one or two of these issues, but not all of them.
You need help addressing this stuff. We can help you with this. And it costs less than you think…so I think!
by: Jeff Gaura, President
Today, less than 1 percent of things in the physical world are network connected. In the near future, the growth of the Internet of Everything (IoE) will invade all that we know.
IoE is the convergence of people, processes, data, and things. It will make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before, creating unprecedented opportunities for countries, businesses, and individuals.
Although the number of devices, applications, and bandwidth demands are growing, the size of IT staff and budget remains static. IT organizations are struggling to manage the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend and growth of mobile devices and traffic.
They face two main challenges:
- Complexity of managing separate wired and wireless networks, multiple management systems, multiple network operating systems, and chaotic device on-boarding processes.
- Inconsistency of wired and wireless architecture, policy, security, features, and operations. When compared with wired networks, wireless also does not have the same level of granular quality of service (QoS), policy, and security enforcement close to endpoint devices.
Hire The Network Team to help you handle the vision setting required to face the Internet of Everything. Hire TNT to design and install the tools needed to manage and monitor. Hire us to help you take all this information to make leading edge business decisions.
You want this to be part of your edge….not an edge that only your competitors know about.
Contact The Network Team for a free 2 hour network assessment to get started.
But it might. And, the act of playing through these “what if’s” is of interest. What if we have no power? What if we lose access permanently to the Internet?
The world has become increasingly dependent on a digital lifestyle. How many, if any, physical photos do you have? Do you have any hard copies of your resume? Think of the plethora of emails with important information or sentimental thoughts in them that you have never printed.
Vint Cerf, a “father” of the Internet and an execute of Google recently announced at a talk that we should consider making hard copies of our photos, as backwards compatibility of future software with the present software is not a given.
That means, print out your photos and make albums.
But let's take it out of the personal realm, and into the professional. Ask yourself, “how might a loss of access to the Internet, even if only for a month, impact me and my business?”
After all, the government thinks that our biggest vulnerability lies not in a physical attack on US soil but a cyber attack?
Are you protected against a loss of power for a day? Do you have a plan to operate without Internet access? TNT loves helping people ask these questions and sort out what their uncertainties mean to their businesses. Contact us to begin the conversation.